Physiological disorders of apples, such as cork spot and bitter pit, are a result of low soil calcium, low or excessive soil moisture, large fruit size, and environmental conditions. We report on the effect of microirrigation treatments on apple fruit when irrigation is applied as water alone or water plus a calcium (Ca)/boron (B) solution with applications applied over the tree canopy or under the tree canopy. Apples were harvested from trees in their 4th to 7th leaf and the number of fruit and size of fruit varied from year to year. In most years, there were no significant differences among treatments for fruit Ca. Fruit B was significantly higher in treatments where B was applied through the irrigation. Fruit N/Ca levels were lower when the fruit size was smaller, which was due to a higher number of fruit per tree. Year to year variations in fruit Ca levels also were likely to temperature, humidity, rainfall, fruit size, and shoot growth.
The growth, productivity, and fruit characteristics of four summer-ripening disease-resistant apple cultivars, (DRCs), `NY 66305-139', `Williams' Pride', `Redfree', and `Dayton' on M.26 EMLA, M.27 EMLA, or Mark rootstocks were compared. `NY 66305-139' was the earliest-ripening cultivar, with the smallest tree size, lowest yield, and the smallest, softest fruit. `Williams' Pride' trees were large, productive, and produced large fruit with the highest red skin color in this trial. The loss of marketable yield of this cultivar, due to moldy core and bitter pit in 1996, raise concerns about its commercial potential. `Redfree' trees were intermediate among the four cultivars in vigor and precocity, and produced high yields of medium-sized fruit. `Dayton' trees were large, high-yielding, and produced the largest, firmest, sweetest fruit; however, the ripening date for `Dayton' was 10 Sept., late for a summer cultivar. Mark and M.26 EMLA produced similarsized trees, while M.27 EMLA produced very small trees. A significant cultivar × rootstock interaction resulted from `Dayton' trees being larger than `Williams' Pride' when both were on M.26, while both cultivars produced similar-sized trees on M.27 or Mark. Of the four cultivars in this trial, we consider `Redfree' to be the best summer DRC for commercial orchards, based upon ripening date, yield, and fruit quality. Mark rootstock was preferable to M.26 or M.27 for the cultivars in this trial, with the best tree growth and precocity.
In 1991, experiments were conducted to assess the effects of several growth controlling techniques on tree growth and fruit set, abscision, ripening, and other qualities. The first two experiments assessed the effects of root pruning (4-8 days after petal fall, 1 m from the trunk, 30 cm deep) in commercial orchards. Compared to controls, root pruning reduced fruit abscision from mature `Cortland'/M.7A trees by 70% on 17 Sept. In another orchard, root pruning reduced fruit abscision from mature `McIntosh'/MM.106 trees by 47% on 24 Sept. The third experiment utilized vigorous `Gardiner Delicious'/MM.106 trees. Treatments included root pruning (as described above), trunk scoring (single, complete circle, approximately 40 cm from the soil), trunk ringing (single, complete circle, 1 mm wide, approximately 40 cm from the soil), ethrel spray treatment (500 ppm), and dormant-pruned and unpruned controls. Treatments were applied on 15 May, when terminal growth was 12-15 cm. No treatment affected fruit set. Trunk growth was less for ringed and scored trees than other treatments. Ringing and scoring advanced ripening compared to controls, and ethrel resulted in intermediate ripening. Treatments had no effect on fruit size, flesh firmness, or the development of bitter pit and cork spot. Fruit abscision was least from controls and root-pruned trees. Trees that were treated with ethrel in May had the most rapid abscision rate.
The response of ‘Red Delicious’ apples to low volume overtree evaporative cooling (EC) irrigation was studied over a 4-year period from 1969-72. While the amount of thermal load and irrigation system run-time varied from year to year, EC consistently resulted in fruit temperature reductions averaging 5.6°C (10.1°F) for the entire 509 hr the system operated over the 4-year period. In each of the 4 years, EC improved fruit quality; on the average increasing total reddish color 8%, solid red color 13%, soluble solids 1%, and fruit weight 22-g while reducing corking 8% and bitter pit 7%. The additional fruit coloration stimulated by EC concentrated harvest in the earlier portion of the harvest season. During the 4 years of the experiment, an additional 1/3 of the cooled crop was harvested, with sufficient solid red color to meet “extra fancy” U.S. grade, during the 1st 2 weeks of the seasons. Because of higher early-season prices, the concentrated earlier harvest of EC fruit is of considerable economic benefit. In locations where heat stresses are common, the use of EC and soil irrigation should be economically feasible.
`Honeycrisp' apples (Malus × domestica) were harvested over 3-week periods in 2001 and 2002. Maturity and quality indices were determined at harvest. Fruit quality was evaluated after air storage [0.0 to 2.2 °C (32 to 36 °F), 95% relative humidity] for 10-13 weeks and 15-18 weeks for the 2001 and 2002 harvests, respectively. Internal ethylene concentrations (IEC), starch indices (1-8 scale), firmness and soluble solids content (SSC) did not show consistent patterns of change over time. Starch hydrolysis was advanced on all harvest dates, but it is suggested that a starch index of 7 is a useful guide for timing harvest of fruit in western New York. After storage, firmness closely followed that observed immediately after harvest, and softening during storage was slow. No change in SSC was observed during storage in either year. Incidence of bitter pit and soft scald was generally low and was not affected consistently by harvest date. The incidence of stem punctures averaged 18.5% over both years, but was not affected by harvest date. Development of stem end cracking in both years, and rot development in one year, increased with later harvest dates. A panel of storage operators, packers, growers, and fruit extension specialists evaluated the samples for appearance and eating quality after storage, and results suggested that a 2-week harvest window is optimal for `Honeycrisp' apples that are spot picked to select the most mature fruit at each harvest.
The apple cultivar Enterprise is a product of the Purdue–Rutgers–Illinois (PRI) disease-resistant apple breeding program. It has field immunity to apple scab, has a high level of resistance to cedar apple rust and fire blight, and is moderately resistant to apple powdery mildew. This resistance to these diseases makes the production of this cultivar desirable, especially on the popular fire blight-susceptible M.26 rootstock. Compared to many other scab-resistant cultivars, `Enterprise' has performed well in the mid-Atlantic area. However, this cultivar has been reported to be susceptible to low-Ca disorders when grown in New Jersey and Virginia. The mid-Atlantic area is notorious for the production of fruit with high levels of corking and bitter pit. This may be due to factors such as vigorous tree growth and low transpirational flow, which may be weather-related. Circumstantial evidence based on the production of clean `Enterprise' at Biglerville, Pa., where moderately high rates of CaCl2 have been applied in cover sprays, indicate that this disorder may be a Ca deficiency symptom. A replicated trial of many scab-resistant cultivars was established in 1990, 1991, and 1992. Due to the common incidence of low-Ca disorders, CaCl2 has been added to the cover spray program that is applied for insect control. Low-Ca disorders have never been seen in fruit produced at Biglerville, and the cover spray program applied 67 and 73 kg·ha–1 of CaCl2 (77% to 80% CaCl2, flake) in 1993 and 1994, respectively.
Various schedules of 40 g N and 17.5 g P/tree per year were applied with irrigation water (fertigation) to `Summerland McIntosh' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) trees on M.9 rootstock commencing the year of planting. Leaf K concentrations averaged 0.82% dry mass, indicating deficiency, by the third growing season. This coincided with extractable soil K concentrations of 50-60 μg·g-1 soil in a narrow volume of the coarse-textured soil located within 0.3 m of the emitters. The decline in leaf K concentration was reversed and fruit K concentration increased by additions of K at 15-30 g/tree applied either as granular KCl directly beneath the emitters in spring or as KCl applied as a fertigant in the irrigation water. K-fertilization increased fruit red color, size, and titratable acidity only when leaf K concentration was <1%. Fruit Ca concentration and incidence of bitter pit or coreflush were unaffected by K application. NPK-fertigation commencing upon tree establishment is recommended for high-density apple orchards planted on similar coarse-textured soils.
A field experiment was conducted at the Horticultural Research Center in Chanhassen, Minn. to help refine recommendations for use of calcium (Ca) sprays to reduce the incidence of bitter pit in `Honeycrisp' apple. Specific objectives were to: evaluate the amount of translocation from leaves to fruit using strontium (Sr) as a tracer for potential Ca movement, determine whether there are differences in translocation in early vs. later phases of fruit development, and evaluate the effect of an experimental adjuvant on spray efficacy. Seven treatments tested included the following: 1) Control (no Sr applied), 2) Sr without adjuvant, fruit covered during spray application, full season, 3) Sr without adjuvant, fruit uncovered during spray application, full season, 4) Sr + adjuvant, fruit covered during spray application, full season, 5) Sr + adjuvant, fruit uncovered during spray application, 6) Sr + adjuvant, fruit covered during spray application, late season, 7) Sr + adjuvant, fruit uncovered during spray application, late season. Results from this study strongly suggest that Sr is a suitable tracer for foliar applied Ca. Up to 18% of the Sr applied to leaves was translocated to fruit. Eight full season spray applications more than doubled the concentration and content of fruit Sr compared to four late season sprays. The experimental adjuvant was found to double Sr absorption by and translocation to fruit compared to not using an adjuvant. Implications for foliar application of Ca to apple trees will be discussed.
`Gardiner Delicious'/MM.lO6 apple (Malus domestics Borkh.) trees were initially sprayed in 1985 with paclobutrazol (PB) at 250 mg.liter-1 at tight cluster and again on 10 and 25 June and 29 July. From 1986 through 1988, PB sprays of 85 or 100 mg·liter-1 were applied at either petal fall (PF) + 2 or PF + 4 weeks and one to two additional sprays were applied per year when growth resumed. Promalin was applied to one group of trees that received PB starting at PF + 2 weeks. PB reduced terminal, lateral, and total shoot growth the year of application and in subsequent years. Although average shoot length of lateral and terminal shoots was reduced, the greatest reduction in growth occurred because PB prevented spurs from growing into lateral and terminal shoots. Compared to unsprayed trees, PB reduced pruning time in all 4 years by 23% to 70%. PB increased bloom only the first year after application, but increased fruit set for 2 years due to a carryover effect. Application of PB in 1985 caused a reduction in fruit size, sometimes in soluble solids concentration, length: diameter (L : D) ratio, and pedicel length. Promalin either overcame the reduction in the ratio or increased it in 1986. Reduced rates of PB in subsequent years caused few adverse effects on the fruit. PB increased flesh firmness when applied at PF + 2 weeks but not at PF + 4 weeks. Trees treated with PB produced fruit with higher flesh Ca and less bitter pit, cork spot, and senescent breakdown following regular air storage. Chemical names used: ß -(4 -chlorophenyl)methyl α -(1,1-dimethylethyl) -1H-l,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol, PB); gibberellins A4+7 plus N-(phenylmethyl) -1H-purine-6-amine (Promalin).
Calcium sprays have improved quality and storage life of apples throughout the world as a result of Ca prevention of many fruit physiological disorders. The efficacy of Ca sprays, however, varies according to soil, cultivar/rootstock, orchard cultural practices, and weather conditions. This study was carried out from 1998 to 2004 in southern Brazil in order to assess the effect of Ca sprays on quality of `Gala' fruits in an orchard planted in 1988 on a density of 1234 trees/ha. Treatments consisted of 0, 4, 8, and 12 sprays of 0.5% CaCl2. Fruits of same size and maturity level were annually analyzed at harvest and after 5 months of cold storage. In five out of six seasons, fruits from all treatments were free of any physiological disorder, and Ca sprays had no effect on leaf composition and on fruit quality attributes (soluble solids, acidity, starch pattern index, flesh firmness, and concentrations of N, K, Ca, and Mg). In the 2000–01 season, however, when yield was 18 t·ha-1 and fruits had an average weight of 175 g, the incidence of bitter pit plus lenticel blotch pit on stored fruits decreased from 24% in the treatment with no calcium to 2% in that with 12 calcium sprays. Two seasons later, yield was also light (25 t·ha-1) and fruits were big in size (168 g), but they did not show any disorders regardless of Ca sprays. It seems that the incidence of Ca related disorders in `Gala' apples grown on limed soils in Brazil only occurs in seasons with a light crop load as a result of large fruits and a high leaf/fruit ratio, associated with some unknown climatic factor.